Thursday, May 18, 2006

BBS providing avenues for Love in China!

Chinese youth finding romance on Internet forums

Source: IANS/Xinhua.

Beijing, May 12: A growing number of Chinese youngsters are finding love on the Internet through an online meeting place known as Bulletin Board System or BBS.

Li Mei met her boyfriend Liu Wei in a chat room called "Pie Love", set up by the well-known Shuimu Tsinghua BBS (SMTH), which is run by students from prestigious Tsinghua University here. Four months later, Mei and Wei are engaged.

"BBS is a bridge for our romance," said Mei, who was one of the hundreds of girls who replied to Wei's dating advert.

"If you leave a message and a picture on Pie Love, it is very likely to top the BBS headlines," said a Tsinghua graduate Yang Fang.

SMTH has around six million readers a day and a top 10 topic will probably have more readers than the headlines of the New York Times, she added.

Cai, an undergraduate at the elite Beijing University, once left a message on SMTH to look for a boyfriend and received an unexpected flurry of replies from more than 100 boys

"I did it just out of curiosity," she explained, adding that she met some of them, but did not find a match.

Unlike Cai, Ma Sisi is much luckier. She found a boyfriend a year ago by leaving a note on SMTH and now she has placed an advert on behalf of her brother.

"Like many computer science students, my brother is a web junkie and always on the Internet. BBS is a good way for someone who spends ten hours a day with his computer to look for his true love," Ma said.

However, according to an administrator of Pie Love, there are also numerous hoax adverts.

"If we discover someone breaking the rules, we will ban him or her from writing and leaving messages on BBS," said the administrator, adding that the system also has a blacklist of unwelcome user names at the bottom of the web page.

According to the latest statistics, China has 111 million Internet users, of which a majority is of young people, and the number is expected to jump by at least 15 percent annually until 2010.

Sociologists recognise that the Internet is a good way for the youth to expand their social circle.

"We don't have to worry too much about the effects of web romance. I believe the young people will gradually understand the meaning of true love with more social practice and interactions in daily life," said Wang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

source: MSN autofeed, i dont have the exact link anymore. sorry.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Maria Sharapova Land Rover ad pictures

Posted on thanx to member bellascarlett and Mailin

IWC Tennis Trophy in Barcelona

Information posted on

Thanx to member erdega79...


Bahrami, Corretja, Costa, Date, Hantuchova, Kuznetsova, Leconte, Nastase, Sanchez-Vicario, Santana, Schnyder, Seles to celebrate the passion of sport

Free tickets available for the general public on Sunday, May 21.
Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Barcelona, May 20-22
Apply for media accreditation on

BARCELONA , May 10, 2006 – Great tennis players of the past will join leading players of the present to celebrate the passion and glamour of sport in the IWC Tennis Trophy, to be held at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on May 21-22. This exclusive event, hosted by Swiss luxury watch brand IWC Schaffhausen, a founding partner of Laureus, is being staged in the build-up to the seventh annual Laureus World Sports Awards at the Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona, on the evening of Monday, May 22.

Over two thrilling days of action, many outstanding players will participate, including Laureus World Sports Academy members Monica Seles and Ilie Nastase, who between them have won 11 Grand Slam singles titles, as well as Spanish legends like Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Manuel Santana, Alex Corretja and Albert Costa. Also competing will be a trio of the most exciting current women players of today - Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova and Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder, quarter-finalist in this year’s Australian Open. They will be joined by eternally popular figures like France’s Henri Leconte , entertainer Mansour Bahrami and Japanese favourite Kimiko Date.

Play on Sunday, May 21, will be open to the public. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and can be obtained from Real Club de Tenis Barcelona and at other outlets shortly. A detailed list of confirmed outlets will be available and communicated in the next week.

The IWC Tennis Trophy Programme includes:

Sunday, May 21 OPEN TO PUBLIC

10.00 Children’s Clinic and Professional Competition

11.30 Professional Exhibition

13.30 Exhibition Match


10.00 Pro-Am competition

13.00 Professional Exhibition.

WC makes time for Laureus and the city of Barcelona

IWC Schaffhausen became a founding partner of Laureus in 2005 as an element of the company’s corporate social responsibility programme, which aims to help those who are socially, physically or economically disadvantaged. According to IWC Schaffhausen CEO Georges Kern: “IWC is passionate about sport and is committed to bringing the public closer to Laureus. The IWC Tennis Trophy is an ideal way to share the glamour, passion and effectiveness of the organisation with the general public. The presence of numerous Laureus Academy members allows them an ideal opportunity to learn more about Laureus and its activities in an open atmosphere.

“ We are very excited about the IWC Tennis Trophy which we hope will be one of the highlights of the Laureus World Sports Awards weekend. I would like to thank all the great tennis players for giving their time to support this event. I am particularly pleased that we will be able to welcome sports fans in Barcelona to come and watch the action on the Sunday. It should be an unforgettable day’s tennis,” he added.

Grand Slam of Glamour and Sport

Laureus Academy member Monica Seles will open the first day of the IWC Tennis Trophy with a special coaching session for children. She said: “I am very excited about hosting the tennis clinic for children. Sport is a great way to involve young people. As a Laureus Academy member, the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation for underprivileged youngsters around the world is enormously important to me.”

Laureus is a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler and Richemont, represented by the founding partner brands IWC and Mercedes-Benz.

About the Awards

Last year's Awards Ceremony, in the presence of His Majesty, The King of Spain, was attended by the legends of the Laureus World Sports Academy and Hollywood stars Jackie Chan, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Gay Harden. Among the award winners present were Roger Federer, Kelly Holmes and Greece football coach Otto Rehhagel.

Barcelona , the capital of Catalonia, is a city with an enormous sporting tradition which has staged the most important sports events. The immensely successful 1992 Olympic Games gave a new impulse to sport in the city. Sport is a part of everyday life in Barcelona and during the past few years the number of high-level international championships staged in the city has multiplied. Therefore it is no surprise that Barcelona was chosen to host the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2006.

Barcelona is a Mediterranean and metropolitan city with the most modern facilities. Its unique architecture, artistic ambience and many tourist attractions have made Barcelona one of the most visited cities in the world. A business and leisure city, it is the ideal place to organise such an important moment of the sporting year - the Laureus Awards Ceremony.

To apply for accreditation for the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards, please log on to or contact Shelly Samuel on

For further information please contact:
Lauren Vierhaus

Laureus International Media Office
Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 2749

Fax : +44 (0)20 7514 2782
Photo Archive:
For photos of Laureus events please visit

NB: Information correct at time of going to press



Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. A joint venture between Founding Partners DaimlerChrysler and Richemont, Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Awards, the Laureus World Sports Academy and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.

  • The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 42 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony attended by global figures from sport, entertainment, business and fashion. Laureus TV programming is watched by 1.1 billion viewers in over 190 countries each year.
  • The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique association of 42 of the greatest living sporting legends who have made exceptional contributions to the world of sport. Its members are: Giacomo Agostini, Severiano Ballesteros, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Kapil Dev, David Douillet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Tony Hawk, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Jack Nicklaus, Pelé, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Viv Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt and Yasuhiro Yamashita.
  • The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation utilises the power of sport to address social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. The vision of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, as defined by patron Nelson Mandela, is that “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” Laureus currently funds 39 projects worldwide addressing key social issues including AIDS, drug abuse, violence, racial and religious discrimination, landmine risk, disaster clean-up, community integration and the plight of child soldiers in war zones. Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy volunteer their services as global ambassadors, visiting projects to encourage young people to participate in sport and to draw public attention to the problems affecting society today.


For more than a century, IWC Schaffhausen has been producing precision products of complex functionality and outstanding user-friendliness for watch connoisseurs who expect rather more from their watch than just having an accurate timekeeper. Since its foundation in 1868, the International Watch Company has built up an international reputation as a long-established Swiss watchmaking firm with a passion for inventions, innovative solutions and technical refinements. Under the motto “At home in Schaffhausen – successful throughout the world”, around 450 people work at the Schaffhausen site, and a further 100 represent IWC around the globe.


After losing in German Open Quarters Hingis complains about media pressure.

Resurgent Hingis complains of media pressure

Sat May 13, 2006 1:03pm ET

By Iain Rogers
BERLIN (Reuters) - Former world number one Martina Hingis has made a remarkably successful return to the professional tennis circuit after three years out recovering from injury and burnout.

The Swiss five-times grand slam winner has reached the quarter-finals or better at seven of the 10 events she has contested since her January comeback, claiming the top-10 scalps of Maria Sharapova and Lindsay Davenport on the way.

However, there were signs on Saturday that Hingis, still only 25, is becoming increasingly irritated by the intense media scrutiny and the demands that have been placed on since she announced she was coming out of retirement late last year.

Slovakian-born Hingis was knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the German Open here on Saturday by world number one Amelie Mauresmo and next competes at the Rome clay event beginning on Monday.

"There is a lot of attention from the media and from the tournament and they want me to do things that some of the other players just don't have to face," Hingis said.

"So that's stealing some of my practice time and it's some extra stress. Sometimes it would be nice to just have a breather, a day not having to rush."

Hingis, who is coached by her mother, has won 40 WTA titles since she turned professional in October 1994 at the age of 14, reaping some $18.3 million in career earnings.

That puts her fourth on the all-time prize money list after Steffi Graf, Davenport and Martina Navratilova who all earned more than $21 million.

"I try to keep it under control but sometimes it's not so easy," Hingis said of the buzz that surrounds her.

"It's nice to have the attention on the one hand. I don't mind that," she added.

Mauresmo said on Saturday Hingis had shown this week in Berlin that she was back up with the best as the world's top players gear up for the French Open, the premier claycourt event which begins at the end of this month.

It remains the only grand slam Hingis has never won.


Bluff Master: song "Right Here Right Now" Lyrics

After much searching and erring from listening & writing down the lyrics of the song "Right Here Right Now" from the movie Bluff Master, i finally have the complete and proper lyrics to this absolutely fab song...

Right Here Right Now (hip hop mix)

Movie Name: Bluffmaster
Singer: Abhishek Bachchan, Sunidhi Chauhan
Music Director: Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics: Vishal-Shekhar
Producer: Ramesh Sippy
Director: Rohan Sippy
Actors: Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Priyanka Chopra

i wanna say heya to my playa reitish d
big props to piggy chops and chuck masta sippy
my crew the bluffmaster movie
and those hip hop fakers vishal and shekhar
here we go!

(come to me bhool jaaye sara jahaan
come to me hum banale apni nayi jagah) - 2

listen up girl

ek main aur ek tu hai aur hawa mein jaadu hai
aarzoo bekabu hai samjho saari baat baaki
waqt ka kya bharosa banke paani beh jaaye
kal agar na mil paaye reh na jaaye baat baaki
right here right now hain khushi ka samaa
wind your body one time
right here right now hum hai is pal jaha
wind your body two time
bhool jaao muskurao reh na jaaye baat baaki

ek main aur ek tu hai aur hawa mein jaadu hai
aarzoo bekabu hai samjho saari baat baaki
waqt ka kya bharosa banke paani beh jaaye
kal agar na mil paaye reh na jaaye baat baaki
come to me - 2

b l u to the double f masta
let's take it slow girl
i'm a long lasta
yeah i'm a bad boy
but i'm a good girl
out in the club or on your bed or on your rug girl
my rides a maybach so lay back while i drop the play back
get to my crib and then u'll ask if you can stay back
u fine so fine i'm gonna keep you smiling
nice eyes fine fur pimp styling

aao mil jaayen hum yu ke phir na ho judaa
never gonna let you go girl
never gonna let you go no no no no
na ho koi faaslen na ho dooriyan
never gonna let you go girl
never gonna let you go no no no no
right here right now hain khushi ka samaa
wind your body one time
right here right now hum hai is pal jaha
wind your body two time
bhool jaao muskurao reh na jaaye baat baaki

i'm the masta of the bluff stuff
i take it smooth but i love the rough stuff
the ladies just cant be getting enough of the love stuff
now i can be gentle or i can be givin you tough love

ek main aur ek tu hai aur hawa mein jaadu hai
aarzoo bekabu hai samjho saari baat baaki
waqt ka kya bharosa banke paani beh jaaye
kal agar na mil paaye reh na jaaye baat baaki

(come to me bhool jaaye sara jahaan
come to me hum banale apni nayi jagah) - 2

get outta of here

you see keep running from what


How was May 12th for me. lol

So yesterday was a nice day cause i went shopping and bought for myself 3 trousers!

Actually 2 of them were jeans. And since they arent of my size so they will be altered by the in house tailor of the shop and will be fitted to my size.

I could go and get them by Tuesday since on a Monday shops in Dadar are closed.

And yesterday night i was saw the Henin-Kuznetsova match on t.v. Pleasantly surprised to see that the matches from the Qatar Telecom German Open were being telecast on Zee Sports.

Unfortunately there were power fluctuations here and the images were spoiled.

Offcourse Henin won and that was great to see.

By the time offcourse Martina-Mauresmo match was on, the fluctuations had stopped (what a coincidence! and thank God for it...) and i could see the match in peace.

Also mom slept early otherwise she might have wanted to watch something else! lol

And since the match is now suspended for darkness with both players splitting the 2 sets, i will write about the match only after it is completed.

By the way it was great to see mum Melanie in the stands. She even smiled! Twice....... :) :) :)

Especially in the 9th game of the 2nd set at deuce. Martina Hingis made that perfect lob, was great to see Martina's clever play invoking a smile from Molitor.

Strangely i didnt notice Mario. Was he there?!

Also did anyone notice Kuznetsova in the stands?

The winner of this match will play Juju (Justine Henin or Henin-Hardenne or simply JHH; whatever you prefer) in the semis.

Telecast restarts 4.00 pm IST on Zee Sports.

Lets us see whats happens next...

If Martina wins and gets to the semis and wins against Justine (the semis follow shortly after this match!) and wins in the final; (oh what a tall order which Martina Hingis is perfectly capable of crafting she can give her mom a nice Mother's Day gift.


Catch ya later...

Newport Beach Film Festival 06

While surfing on the web i came across the website for the Newport Beach Film Festival.

I didnt know Indian movie "Amu" was screened there.

Since i myself dont know much about this festival, i cant really comment about how the festival is.

Anyways, here is the official website:

The list of 2006 award winners is on this page:

From the looks of it some of these films might be interesting. But alas, we in India dont get to watch too many foreign language films unless they are Hollywood offcourse...

For a full list of movies from India shown at the Newport Beach film fest visit this page:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Naushad Saab Passing Away: After Thoughts

Naushad Saab Passing Away: After Thoughts

10:33 PM 5/11/2006
Vidhyut Kargutkar

That Hindi cinema's most prolific and loved music directors has passed away is not only a loss to Indian music but to the "world of music" as a whole.

No one can forget his immortal work spanning 6 decades in films like the recently revived Mughal-e-Azam, latest remake of Taj Mahal (both released in Pakistan) , Baiju Bawra, Mother India, Ganga Jamuna, Anmol Ghadi, Pakeezah, Mere Mehboob and many such movies.

His immense talent and love pf classical Indian music saw him showcase classical tunes in movies in never before seen ways. After all who can forget songs like "Mohe panghat pe nandlal ched gayo re", "jab pyar kiya to darna kya", "muhabbat ki jhooti kahani pe roye"(all 3 from Mughal-e-Azam), Madhuban mein Radhika nache re" (from Kohinoor), "Chalte Chalte Yunhi Koi Mil Gaya Tha" (Pakeezah) and "Duniya mein aaye hai toh jeena hi padega" (Mother India).

With music inspired by "ragas" Naushad Saab captured the imagination of not just Indians but also of the entire subcontinent.

After all "jab pyar kiya toh darna kya" is an alltime favourite of romantic rebels. Also superstar Rajendra Kumar starer Mere Mehboob's immaculately composed song "Mere mehboob tujhe meri muhabbat ki kasam".

Composition of great lyrics is in itself no guarantee that a song will become famous, infact if the Lyrics are the body, music is the very soul of the song.

Naushad's music rendered many a songs to become famous. Sung and hummed by one and all, heard on radio on tea stalls or on t.v. at one time, now heard in many formats on CDs, DVDs, i-pods, mobile phones this has been a long journey.

Even for generations to come people are never going to stop listening and admire the sheer genius what was Naushad.

News William sisters article

There's a grocery list of reasons for Williamses' decline

May 9, 2006
By Joel Drucker
Special to CBS

Last week a supermarket clerk saw I was wearing tennis clothes and asked if I'd ever seen the duo he called "the sisters" play. He added, "They sure kick butt, don't they?" I told him that Venus and Serena Williams were great players but these days weren't taking home any hardware.

I didn't tell him that saying that left me feeling quite ambivalent.

At one level, the erosion of Venus and Serena makes me mad, angry that two champions who might have been catalysts for making tennis popular in the manner of Tiger Woods have lost their way and opted for glitz over glory.

The compassionate part of me is sad, seeing a sorry tale of rise and decline, set amid a lonely sport where responsibility and desire are strictly personal and maintaining solitary focus is a tough go. Then again, it's important to remember what motivated Venus and Serena to reach this point.

In the spring of 1978, Richard Williams was watching TV and saw a woman named Virginia Ruzici holding up a large check. She'd just won the French Open. A light bulb went off in his head: Bring a daughter into the world and make her a tennis champion. Just in case, why not two?

So here is the takeaway: Richard saw big money -- tennis as a means, not an end. Mission accomplished. By obeying their dad's orders, Venus and Serena will never have to work a day in their lives. With each having lived barely a quarter-century, what remains?

Regardless of intent, the duo's journey from Compton to Wimbledon is one of the most incredible tales in the history of sports. As Lindsay Davenport once said, "Imagine if Tiger had a brother chasing him down on the 16th hole of the Masters."

Imagine indeed, and for a time, that's exactly what Venus and Serena were doing. Not once in the 20th century did two sisters meet in the finals of a major tennis tournament (I assume you don't remember the Watson rivalry of 1884). But starting with the 2001 U.S. Open, Venus and Serena squared off in six Slam finals in less than two years. So powerful, swift and gutsy were these two that they could even overcome their technical limits with raw and compelling confidence.

But the way competition works is that rivals study, catch up and seek to surpass. And since tennis players have no teammates banging them around in practice to get better and pursue that title, dedication is strictly an individual matter.

On the one hand, this can trigger incredible efforts of singular ambition, as evidenced by the careers of Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. But deregulation can leave one adrift. John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi all spent many hours lamenting the burdens of being the world's best and that perhaps it might not be so great to try to be a champion. Joe Montana's fellow 49ers would've kicked his butt had he spoken with such angst about the pursuit of a Super Bowl ring.

"Tennis is harder because you always have to take the shot," says former NBA player John Lucas, an All-American in both basketball and tennis. "But basketball makes you a better person because you learn to work with other people and create something that's bigger than you. Team play gives you something to strive for."

Venus and Serena -- for a time a team unto themselves, theoretically pushing and supporting one another -- have always been keen to discuss their offcourt interests. Venus, more cerebral and reticent, is drawn to her interior design business and books. The visceral Serena favors fashion and acting.

So long as they were competing and winning, who dared argue that these activities would divert their focus? But as their dedication wavered and wandered -- in the first four months of 2006, the two played but one event, January's Australian Open, repeatedly withdrawing from subsequent tournaments with injuries -- it's left me wondering if these offcourt pursuits are merely a smokescreen for an evasion of the heavy lifting it takes to be a world-class athlete.

"I'm not just a tennis star," Serena once said, "I'm a superstar."

Proud of her ability to command a camera, always more eager to discuss her footwear than her footwork, Serena last week issued a news release declaring her desire to return to the WTA Tour and overcome her knee and ankle injuries. Oddly enough, it's not even displayed on her bubble-gum pink website (which does offer ways to get Serena Williams wallpaper and ring tones).

Having sat through news conferences where Serena has filed her nails, argued over the meaning of the word "ghetto," and usually failed to credit her opponent for anything other than being a "nice girl," my initially response boiled down to one word: Whatever.

I am in large part heartily bored with Serena's persona but still willing to hold out a candle in hopes that she might have the gumption to make a go at being a champion once again.

It's tougher to assess Venus. Lacking Serena's external swagger -- in fact, there are times Venus speaks as if she's near-catatonic -- she tends to be far more pensive than her younger sister.

Best of all, she has started to play again too. Last week she fought through cramps to earn a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over longstanding rival Martina Hingis at an event in Warsaw.

Not having seen the match (curse this international sport -- and $100 to someone who can get me a tape), it's tough to know what conclusion to draw. Is Hingis playing at the level of a Wimbledon champion, or is Venus barely a top 20 player?

Venus played gutsy tennis to win Wimbledon last year, but even then it was clear she'd take very little from that win and build a consistent pattern of play. Upon losing to Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open last September, she issued a lame excuse that her opponent's weak play and change of pace had been the reason for her defeat.

Run that by me again: Steve Nash and the Suns were playing so poorly that Kobe and the Lakers couldn't help but blow that lead. Golly, there are times I know precisely why tennis generates such poor cultural traction in this country. In a nation of individuals, the last thing we want from the sports world is yet another showcase of self-reliance run amok.

Tempting at is to say it's mostly a matter of desire, that all Venus and Serena need to do is get out there and they'll be making my local supermarket clerk happy, there are a number of technical and physical factors affecting both sisters.

First off, they get injured for a very cogent reason. For world-class players, they have terrible technique, muscling the ball more with their arms and wrists than using all of their body weight to generate pace. It's most apparent on each of their forehands, which can fly when not timed properly.

Venus' service motion, a delivery she once claimed was patterned after Pete Sampras' great serve, is horrifically unbalanced and likely to cause shoulder problems. At the world-class level, bad technique triggers a vicious cycle of injuries, the inability to train, poor fitness and erratic competition.

Second, the upgrades in power Venus and Serena brought to the tour have been matched by many other players. No longer do they have the biggest weapons. Now it's a matter of their willingness to try to grub out improvements.

As children, these two followed their father's directions right to the top. To do so they occupied, as most tennis players do, a bubble of self-assurance and self-absorption.

"Why," Connors once asked me, "should I even care what anyone else does?"

As adults, do they have the gumption to go for greatness? Let me repeat: I only want them to make the effort. Certainly they don't have to. Personal responsibility is tennis' bedrock.

But as Billie Jean King says, "Do you want to be 50 years old, sitting in your chair, asking yourself, 'What if? What if I'd put it on the line and let myself see who I could be?'"

Memo to Venus and Serena: Stop trying to be so interesting. Just be interested.


Delhi HC restrains nursery interviews

Delhi HC restrains nursery interviews
Source: NDTV.

New Delhi, May 10: The Delhi High Court has issued an order restraining private schools from interviewing both children and their parents as part of the admissions procedure.

It's been a subject of immense debate whether it was fair to conduct interviews of the three and four year-old children for admissions into nursery schools or not.

The Delhi HC came to the rescue of young kids with this verdict.

The court ordered, "Under the garb of discretion of school management, admissions are granted and rejected in an arbitrary manner."

Pointing out that there needs to be more transparency in the admissions procedure, the court said that it has, "Repeatedly asked for suggestions but each time you always ask for more time. We are now giving you one last chance to come up with suggestions."

The court also said that no interviews could be conducted without its permission.

Admission to nursery in most schools till now were guided by three major criteria:

  1. The child must reside within 8 km of the school.
  2. Interviews of parents and children
  3. Some schools who do not want to interview the child, have written tests for parents.

Now with the court having put a stay on interviews, schools have been asked to come up with alternative suggestions for admissions.


Nice to see that some sense has finally prevailed.

It is pretty sickening to see tiny tots running off to the nearest "tuition" classes in a bid to learn stuff thats way beyond resonable.

Indeed jids not learning just alphabets or basic numbers, but "General Knowledge" like who is President of India, names of all fruits, vegetables...

I thought names of fruits and vegetables were meant to be taught in school.

To top it all there were interviews of parents to determine i dont know what!

Funny to see kids and parents packing off for the nearest class to gain needed knowledge for interview calls.

T.V. discussions by eminent psychologists, councillors, teachers, academicians pointed to the fact that all these undue pressures put on a children as young as 3 or 4 results in stress and killing of creativity in the child.

Being spoonfed with loads of information accounts for nothing more then rote learning.

RBI to come out with new "star series" bank notes

MSN autofeed reports this:

New star series banknotes introduced
Source: IANS.

New Delhi, May 10: In line with international practices, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to introduce Rs.10, Rs.20 and Rs.50 bundles where the notes would not be placed in serial numbers.

This practice is being adopted to enable the central bank to replace the defective banknotes in a packet of 100.

In effect, when a customer gets a packet of new banknotes bearing a star, he or she may find that all the notes are not in serial order of one to 100. Instead, as in the case of used banknotes, the bundle of notes may require counting by both the bank and the customers.

To help in easy identification of such bundles, the banknotes would have a star in the number panel, the RBI stated in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Stressing that such banknotes should be treated as legal currency, RBI states "some fresh banknote packets issued by the bank may contain some notes having a star in the number panel in the space between the prefix and the number".

"To facilitate easy identification of note packets containing star series notes, the band on such packets will clearly indicate the presence of these notes in the packet."

Barring the additional star, the new notes would look exactly like other notes of similar denomination.

"The star series notes will be legal tender and members of public may freely accept and use these notes," the RBI has stated.

This move by the RBI is expected to help save on expensive printing mistakes, earlier done through replacement of defective notes, which not only resulted in additional expense but also delayed the process of issuing them.


My own comment on this matter:

It is high time the RBI did something about the quality of notes we have in circulation in India.

It is indeed shocking to see torn, stappled notes, notes with numbers, names and even faces drawn on them issued by bank cashiers.

From personal experiance i have seen that the lacklustre attitude of "anything comes, anything goes" that is prevalent in India, even sub-standard notes are happily issued by banks to consumers, and people never protest against it.

Part of the blame infact lies with the general public who dont handle notes with care.

Hopefully the new process will make it easier to screen out bad notes from the system.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Navratilova wins first match at ECM Open in Prague

Navratilova won her first match in her native Prague, Czech Republic after a gap of 20 years.

Navratilova playing doubles partnering Barbora Strycova beat the team of Blahotova-Rolle, 6-2, 6-3.

Speaking about her return to play in Prague Navratilova said, "The return means a lot to me."

Reacting to the ovation of 4000 strong crowd Navratilova said, "I had to do something ... at least look for my glasses, to keep myself from crying. But there must not be too much nostalgia, or we would lose quickly."

Navratilova has defected to the U.S. in 1975 later becoming a citizen of the U.S.

Navratilova hopes to settle in Prague in the future.

Martina Hingis-Maria Sharapova clinic in Manila

Sharapova, Hingis coming to town

By Joaquin Henson
The Philippine Star

Negotiations are underway to bring tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis to Manila in November and Team Asia’s Joey Fornier told The Star yesterday it’s 70 percent sure the three-day, two-night visit will push through.

Sharapova, 19, is guaranteed at least P6.5 Million and Hingis, 25, P2.5 Million to appear in separate three-hour clinics and play in a best-of-3 match at the Araneta Coliseum. Team Asia is packaging the three-nation tour with Manila as the second leg after Singapore and before Beijing.

"We’re close to finalizing the deal," said Fornier. "We’re down to the small details like agreeing to how many companions they will bring. Maria has an entourage of 15 and Martina, 12. Maria will be coming from the US and Martina from Switzerland."

Team Asia, an entertainment events promoter, is an affiliate of Team Ltd. of Singapore with a branch in Beijing. The Team group was formed eight years ago and has brought in Mariah Carey, Boyzone, Michael Jackson, the Black Eyed Peas, Westlife, F-2 and F-4 to Manila. It recently tied up with Solar Sports in telecasting the "Rumble at the Bay" boxing card on Roxas Boulevard and Rodel Mayol’s bid for the World Boxing Council minimumweight title in Tokyo.

Fornier said Team Asia is also planning to stage a P15 Million charity skins golf match between the Korean pair of K. J. Choi and Grace Park and the Philippine tandem of Frankie Miñoza and Jennifer Rosales at the Camp John Hay course in Baguio City in October.

Fornier said the teams will play for pot money in each hole with a commitment to donate all or part of the winnings to a local charity.

Sharapova and Hingis have played each other thrice this year. In their latest encounter in Tokyo, Hingis upset Sharapova, 6-3, 6-1. In two previous matches, Sharapova beat Hingis, 6-3, 6-3, in Indian Wells and 6-3, 6-4, in Dubai.

Fornier said Sharapova will conduct a clinic at the Manila Polo Club and Hingis, a similar clinic at the Alabang Country Club the day before the Big Dome match. Both clinics will be open to 30 players within the 12 to 16-year-old bracket.

The 6-2 Sharapova turned pro in 2001 and was ranked No. 1 last year. She won the Wimbledon crown in 2004 and has earned over $5.6 Million in her career. This year, the Siberian blond will bankroll about $30 Million from prize earnings and endorsement contracts. Considered the highest-paid female athlete ever, Sharapova has her own perfume with Parlux fragrances, her own video game and her own line of handbags designed by a Japanese company. She also pitches for Nike, Prince, Speedminton, Motorola, Canon, TAG Heuer, Honda Japan and Colgate-Palmolive.

The 5-7 Hingis was ranked No. 1 in 1997 when she won three of four Grand Slam titles. She has bagged 40 career championships, including three Australian Opens, and earned over $18.5 Million since turning pro in 1994.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Martina Hingis wins against Flavia Penetta at German Open 06

Martina Hingis won against Flavia Penetta 7-5, 6-3 in round one of the Qatar Telecom German Open.

"I'm glad I got some revenge,'' Hingis said. "Maybe I was too nervous , I was too excited at every match. This time I adjusted my tactics.''

Penetta had beaten Hingis in their last encounter in the semis of the Gold Coast Open in January during Martina's comeback tournament.

Hingis was German Open champion in 1999.

Of the 3000 odd people there to support her, Hingis said, "It's an incredible feeling to see all these people here".

"I quickly got to 4-1 but she is very good when she is behind and her game starts to come through," Martina said of the match.

"It's a great feeling to be standing here again on this court. Today I am happy that I was able to gain revenge," she said.

Martina next plays against German Julia Schruff on Wednesday. Martina said, "I have never played against her. She is very strong and I think it will be a similar match to today."

Kal Ho Na Ho in Warsaw, Poland!

As reported on MSN autofeed:

'Kal Ho Naa Ho' making waves in Warsaw
Source: IANS.

Warsaw, May 9: The Shah Rukh Khan-Karan Johar combo is again making waves in Poland. After reaping rich dividends with "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" last year, it is now "Kal Ho Naa Ho" that is raking in money at the Polish box office.

The film, starring Shah Rukh, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta, is being shown in three cinema halls simultaneously with Polish subtitles. And Gutek Films, which premiered the film Friday, is overwhelmed with the public response.

"Things are moving beyond our expectations. Now every week we will take this film to a new town so that the Polish people can taste Bollywood masala," a representative of the Gutek films told IANS.

People in the Polish capital, particularly the young, are hugely enjoying the music of the film, which features foot-tapping numbers like "It's The Time To Disco" and "Mahi Ve".

Commenting upon the film's performance, Indian Ambassador Anil Wadhwa said: "The draw of Shah Rukh Khan is fantastic and people are now well versed with his CV. Very soon, his other films like 'Veer-Zaara' will be shown in Polish cities.

"Bollywood is no longer a strange word for the Polish people. In this globalised world, Indian films finally are searching new territories and luckily they have found a sound market like Poland," he added.

"My son Chris, who earlier used to watch Hindi movies on video, now takes his Polish friends to the movie hall," said Anna Bem, who is married to an Indian professor.

Gaberilla Krzyzowska, an Indophile whose husband is the president of Polish-Indian Cultural Committee, agreed: "We are very happy that Indian movies are being popularised in Poland."


NASA & ISRO ink space deal

NASA & ISRO(Indian Space Research Organisation) are to ink new MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) today for India's maiden Lunar mission Chandrayan which is to be launched in 2008.

NASA Chief Dr Michael Griffin who is on a visit to India since the last high profile NASA visit by NASA scientist Fletcher who visited India in 1972-1973.

Fletcher was there during the launch of Aryabhata and the SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment) programme that was to beam educational programmes to 2,400 villages through the American satellite ATS-6.

Indian space scientist U R Rao recalls, "The first time Fletcher came, he was sceptical of our satellite programme after looking at our sheds. The second time around he was convinced we would take off. He was here to oversee implementation of ground conditions for the use of the American satellite that was to beam educational programmes across India."

Indo-American cooperation had already begun in the 1960s with a collaboration for the Thumba rocket. The 1970s collaboration was the SITE experiment, and in the 1980s it further intensified with the procurement of four satellites in the INSAT class from the US and launch of three of them by US rocket-launchers.

This time around during the Bush visit, India and the US decided to expand cooperation in civil space, including space exploration and satellite navigation.

Under the deal NASA will provide 2 payloads --Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (miniSAR) developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory and Moon Mineralogy Mapper operating in 0.7-3 micrometre band(M3 pronounced m-cube) an imaging spectrometer built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

While the miniSAR will be used to map lunar polar ice, the moon mineralogy mapper will identify the surface mineral /chemical composition of the moon's surface.

This was decided on during the Bush visit to India in March.

The Chandrayan satellite would have payloads from Bulgaria and European Space Agency (ESA) too.

Three developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and one from the Bulgarian Space Laboratory.

The Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer (SARA) from ESA will map composition using low energy neutral atoms sputtered from the surface, while near-infrared spectrometer (SIR-2) will also map the mineral composition using an infrared grating spectrometer.

Bulgaria will send a Radiation Dose Monitor aboard Chandrayaan-I to map the radiation environment around the moon.

The 500 kg satellite (lift off weight 1304 kg) would have 5 Indian payloads which would take up chemical mapping of the entire lunar surface, besides helping to prepare a three dimensional atlas of regions of scientific interest.

The payloads include a Moon Impact probe for future landing missions, a high energy x-ray spectrometer, a lunar laser ranging instrument with a height resolution of five metres, a terrain mapping camera with stereo imaging capability and a five metre spatial resolution and a hyper spectral imager operating in 0.4-0.95 micrometre band with a special resolution of 15 manometre, a spatial resolution of 80 metre, sources said.

Among the Indian payloads, Terrain Mapping Camera will be used to produce a high-resolution map of the Moon, while the Hyper Spectral Imager will perform mineralogical mapping in the 400-900 nm band with a spectral resolution of 15 nm and a spatial resolution of 80 m.

The Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) will determine the surface topography and the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer will be used to study the X-rays emanating from the lunar surface.

Moon Impact probe (MIP) developed by ISRO is a small satellite that will be ejected once it reaches 100km orbit around moon, to impact on the moon.

MIP carries three more instruments namely, a high resolution mass spectrometer, an S-Band altimeter and a Video camera, which would study the lunar surface as it crashes onto the moon.

It will give NASA a first-hand view of the advancements in India’s space programme, particularly its successful commercial forays in the international space market — ISRO plans to corner between 5-10 per cent of the global space market.

To be launched by the proven Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) that had eight consecutive launches till May last year from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, the Satellite would initially orbit the moon at a polar height of 200 km and later be guided to a 100 km lunar orbit. It would have a mission life of two years.

The Rs 386 crore maiden planetary exploration project of India was approved by the Government in September 2003. Besides the satellite, the project also envisaged setting up of a Deep Space Network to be located near Bangalore with a 32 m diameter x/s band antenna.

Griffin, will also visit Indian Space Research Organisation headquarters in Bangalore, where the MoUs would be signed with ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair.

However, a more ambitious project between the two countries on a space launch agreement is still a distance away — this agreement would permit India to launch third country satellites with US components and technology in them. While the two countries have worked out the details of a technology safeguards agreement, which protects US technology from proliferation, a more mundane issue — a commercial launch agreement — is still out of reach.

Meanwhile, India will push for removal of sanctions on the remaining ISRO entities that remain under US curbs. This agreement is tied up in the labyrinths of American bureaucracy, particularly the USTR, which wants a deal outside the WTO, something India is not particularly comfortable with. Besides, the agreement is something the US had with only a couple of closed economies of the world like Ukraine, and even with them the US had allowed these commercial agreements to lapse.

The US had asked for an Indian astronaut on a US mission — which formed a part of the July 18 joint statement. But ISRO determined that it would entail a cost for India which it did not want to pay for — instead wanted to concentrate on unmanned missions.

As space scientist U R Rao puts it, "We are after all flying two US instruments on board free of cost. The data generated will be of great value to the US. Griffin's visit is nothing but a sign of the immense confidence NASA has on Indian capabilities."

Martina Hingis: Berlin Open 06

Hingis counting her blessings

Tuesday, May 09, 2006-->
Web posted at: 5/9/2006 4:37:15

BERLIN • Former world number one Martina Hingis of Switzerland is savouring every moment of her comeback year. Playing active tennis after a sabbatical of three years, Hingis says each outing these days is a moment of absolute joy.

“For me, every match is like a victory. I don’t have to look at the results to feel happy. Just being out there on the court feels like a win to me. I am simply trying to get into my groove. I am getting used to the old routine of playing and traveling, but I am not complaining,” Hingis, who won five Grand Slams before retiring from the sport in 2002, said.

Hingis will take on Flavia Pannetta of Italy in her first round match at the $1.3m Qatar Telecom German Open, which began in the German capital yesterday.

Hingis, who has appeared in 10 Grand Slam finals in her illustrious career, said she has no long-term plans in what is actually the second phase of her career.

“I have not set any great plans for myself. I just want to see out my first season without injury problems. I want to take part in as many tournaments as I can. That is my main goal,” said the Swiss star. “Frankly speaking, I am delighted to be back in Berlin, playing on clay. It is good to be here,” Hingis, who has won more than $18m in prize money, added.

World number seven, Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium yesterday praised Hingis, saying the Swiss had done extremely well in her comeback.

“I think Martina has done really well. She has won some important matches and is getting there at the level she would like to see herself at. It is not easy to come back after three years and play good tennis at the top level like that. Considering that, Hingis has done well. All credit goes to her for being so bold with her move,” Henin-Hardenne, who is the defending champion in Berlin, said.

Mirjana Lucic update :(

Ex-phenom hits back at IMG, father in bid to regain her game

New York Daily News

BRADENTON, Fla. - The photograph in Mirjana Lucic's hands is only seven years old, even if it sometimes seems from another lifetime. It shows her in the sun-baked afterglow of Wimbledon triumph, moments after defeating Nathalie Tauziat of France to move into the 1999 semifinals of the most fabled tennis tournament on Earth.

In the image, 17-year-old Lucic is pumping her fists, smiling broadly, stepping forward with strength and confidence, her long blonde hair hanging like a rope behind her. She was one of the foremost phenoms in tennis then, a 6-foot kid with punishing power and courage to match, having fled her native Croatia with her mother and four siblings a year before, to escape the lifelong beatings she says were inflicted on her by her father, Marinko Lucic.

Mirjana Lucic wasn't just an immensely promising player. She was a poster girl for resilience and survival, and that is precisely what she dreams of being again, after vanishing from the tour so completely you half expect her photo to turn up on a milk carton.

What's been the hardest part to deal with? The financial hardship that has limited her to a single tournament each of the last two years? The 50-pound weight gain? The bitter lawsuit against IMG, her former management company and the most powerful force in the sport, which she accuses of using medication, mind games and willful deceit to sabotage her career?

Or is it the sordid residue of her fractured home life, and the crushing burden of supporting an entire family before you are even of legal age?

Whatever the outcome of her dueling litigation with IMG, which sued her first for defaulting on promissory notes and emphatically denies all allegations, it's hard to think of another athlete who has been caught in a messier tangle of events, or who stands as a better example of the ugly underbelly of youthful stardom. The same management company that has made Maria Sharapova a marketing wunderkind - and quite likely the most recognized name in the sport - once had similar aspirations for Mirjana Lucic.

Then the victories stopped, the fighting started and a player once ranked No. 32 in the world fell so far out of sight that she doesn't even have a number next to her name in the Women's Tennis Association computer.

"The trouble that I've been through, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy," Lucic says, minutes after finishing a two-hour hitting session with her brother, Ivan, 18, on the green clay courts at the IMG Sports Academy here. She would have another two-hour hitting session, and then spend two hours in the gym later. She looks fit and strong, and says she wants nothing more than to return to her life on the pro circuit.

"There is nothing worse than knowing you can play and being healthy, and you are just watching because you don't have the money (to travel and hire a coach)," she says.

Nobody is more aware of what Lucic has gone through than her countryman, Goran Ivanisevic, who put her up during the 1998 Wimbledon, when she was hiding from her father, just weeks before the family fled for the U.S.

Ivanisevic never saw Marinko Lucic hit Mirjana, but he says he saw plenty of high-octane verbal abuse. "Whether she won or lost, he was not happy," Ivanisevic says. "He was never happy. I saw how bad he talked to her. I would break down if somebody talked to me like that. In my opinion, what he did, he ruined her life. To hit her? This is the 21st century, not 200 years ago."

Ivanisevic pauses. "I thought she was going to be a top 10 player for a long time," he says, shaking his head.

Lucic won a pair of Junior Grand Slams (the U.S. Open and the Australian Open) and became the No. 1 ranked junior in the world and at 15, was half of the youngest professional Grand Slam duo ever when she teamed with Martina Hingis to capture the Australian Open doubles crown in 1998. When she won the first pro tournament she entered at age 15 in Bol, Croatia (her victims included Amanda Coetzer, among the top players in the world at the time) and defended the title a year later, her stardom seemed assured. It would've been an idyllic life, were she not living with the daily dread of when the next beating would come.

The abuse that Marinko Lucic inflicted on his wife, Andelka, and children, family members say, was at once brutal and cunning. Mirjana says the first time he hit her was when she was 5 years old, after she lost a tournament to a girl who was about five years older. "My father smacked me in the nose. I was bleeding all over the house," she says. "I had no clue what was going on. I was in complete shock. After that it was pretty much the same old thing, all the time."

Mirjana says her father, who declined to answer questions about the alleged abuse, would typically beat her with a heavy Timberland shoe, around her head and back so that there would be visible marks. "Sometimes my head would hurt so much I couldn't brush my hair for a week," Mirjana says. He would throw trophies and racquets, but the most chilling moment, Lucic says, came when she was 14, after a junior clay-court tournament in Milan. Mirjana had fallen during a training session and suffered nasty scrapes on her knees and head. She was so banged up doctors suggested she skip the tournament, but she played and made it to the semis before losing.

She drove home with her father to the family's apartment in Zagreb, a few hours from the family's house in the seaside town of Makarska. When they arrived, she says her father - a former Olympic decathlete - hauled her into the bathroom, put her in the bathtub and beat her for 40 minutes with his shoe. When he was done, he gave her money.

"He told me to go out and buy an ice cream," Lucic says. She did.

Mirjana and her sister, Ana, say the police never came to the family's aid because their father is a powerful man in Croatia - both wealthy and well-connected. They say neighbors and friends never intervened, probably because they didn't know the extent of the abuse. By the early summer of 1998, Lucic had finally had enough. Days before the start of Wimbledon, a heated argument took place. Mirjana says her father threatened to kill her mother, and lunged at her, at which point Mirjana says she snapped, screaming, "Never again," cursing her father with every word she could think of. Mirjana and her mother bolted from the apartment where they were staying, and wound up running into Ivanisevic. She told him about the situation and he insisted they stay with him - three days of much-needed respite.

"Goran saved my life," Mirjana says.

Lucic made it to the third round at Wimbledon, and to the mixed doubles final, but the most momentous event of the summer happened on July 4, 1998, when Andelka Lucic and her five children snuck out of a hotel room in Zagreb at 2:30 in the morning. Into a waiting car they jumped, taking off for a hideout in the country, where they stayed for 19 days while they waited to get political asylum, a process facilitated by the office of former New York Sen. Alphonse D'Amato. Lucic was a no-show for an important Fed Cup match, and her whereabouts was front-page news.

On July 23, they went to Zagreb Airport, flanked by a half-dozen men with guns, and flew to New York.

"It was like something out of James Bond movie, except that it was our lives," Mirjana says.

She says her father took all but $23,000 of the money she had earned in her burgeoning pro career. She says he has repeatedly told her since that he would ruin her career and force her to come crawling back to him. Upon arriving in the States, Lucic went to see a physician. She says she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lucic's ordeal with IMG, according to her attorney, Kevin Ambler of Tampa, has almost been as harrowing, albeit in a different way. The relationship began amid great promise late in 1998, and has long since dissolved into harsh accusations, and his-and-her lawsuits - IMG suing for repayment of $83,000 it advanced Lucic and initiating foreclosure on her condominium in the tony, gated confines of the IMG Sports Academy here; Lucic counter-suing on the grounds that the agency not only breached its fiduciary responsibility, but "has been the instrument of Mirjana's systematic financial destruction since 1998."

Moreover, Lucic's suit alleges that agent "Gavin Forbes had been working together (with Marinko Lucic) as part of a conspiracy to ruin Mirjana's tennis career because she had fled Croatia . . ." Ambler declines to be specific, but a legal source familiar with the suit says he intends to prove that Marinko Lucic agreed to steer promising junior players to IMG in return for its "help" with Mirjana.

Neither Forbes, nor Robert Hendrickson, the attorney who is representing IMG in the suit, would comment on the case. In a statement from a corporate spokesperson, IMG said, "The claims are false, and the company vehemently denies them. IMG moved to compel Mirjana Lucic to provide proof of her claims, and so far Lucic has not provided anything. The deadline passed months ago."

Speaking on his cell phone from Croatia, Marinko Lucic also denies the charge, saying, "Since 1998, I have no contact whatsoever with IMG. None." As for directing players to the agency, he says, "It is a science fiction story. Other than that I have no comment."

According to the legal source, Ambler also will contend that IMG sent Mirjana to a psychiatrist, who put her on the anti-depressant medication, Wellbutrin, against her wishes.

"I had to take Wellbutrin, and it wasn't by my own will," says Lucic, who said she felt lethargic and fuzzy on the medication.

"We believe that when we present our evidence to a jury it will become clear that they did everything they could - psychologically, financially, physically and emotionally - to undermine her tennis career," says Ambler, who also is a member of the Florida legislature. "If you're a Goliath like IMG and you want to bring down a player, there are a number of tools at your disposal to do it."

Ambler believes that the damage done to Lucic's career by IMG exceeds $10 million.

According to court papers filed in Manatee County, Fla., IMG executives first approached Lucic during the 1998 U.S. Open, at which point she was represented by rival agency Advantage International (now Octagon). Gavin Forbes, among the most influential agents in the sport, told Lucic, her mother and Ana, that IMG could help her earn five times the income of her existing deals - contracts totaling $350,000 with Prince and Fila, court papers allege. At a followup meeting with Forbes, fellow agent David Egdes and the late Mark McCormack, IMG's president and founder, in the IMG suite during the men's final, Lucic says in her suit, she was told IMG would furnish her with a lawyer who would assist her in getting out of her contract with Advantage.

In December 1998, three months before she turned 17, Lucic signed a four-year deal with IMG.

In her suit, Lucic says that Forbes told her that Nike proposed a three-year deal for between $300,000 and $330,000 per year after her run to the Wimbledon semis. She says she was eager to sign, but was advised not to by Forbes, who said he could get them up to $500,000 if he sweetened the deal by throwing a few junior players Nike's way. Nike later pulled the offer off the table, Lucic alleges in court papers, and Forbes "was telling everyone in the tennis world" that Mirjana was wildly unrealistic and was insisting on $1 million for an endorsement.

IMG denies that Forbes ever guaranteed to quintuple her income, according to court records, and also denies both the Nike offer and Forbes' advice to hold off accepting it. Nike didn't respond to calls requesting comment.

In its own suit, IMG seeks repayment of $83,000 in promissory notes Lucic signed for; Lucic claims she was told the money would never have to be repaid. She also claims she was constantly being pressured to sign papers, even though she says she struggled to read English, and that her IMG-supplied lawyer encouraged her to sign papers she hadn't properly examined. In its response, IMG denies those allegations.

On the endorsement front, IMG wound up getting Lucic a three-year deal with Head for a total of $145,000 (the equipment company later opted out via an escape clause tied to a minimum number of tournament appearances) and a $40,000 video game deal. Strapped for money, she says Ana helped arrange financing from an investment banker from Texas for $50,000 a year for five years to defray the costs of travel and coaching. The deal blew up, according to her court filings, because Gabriel Jaramillo, director of tennis at the academy, called the banker and told him "how poorly Mirjana had managed her financial affairs" and discouraged him from entering the deal. The banker backed out - more proof, according to Lucic, that IMG was working against her best interests.

Reached in his Houston office, the banker, Aaron Webster, a former college tennis player at Bucknell, says he was considering making a $50,000 annual investment in Lucic, which included a percentage of her earnings, but that a five-year term was never set. He reconsidered when Ana Lucic made it clear the funds were a loan, not an investment in future earnings.

Webster confirms that Jaramillo discouraged him from investing money in Lucic - not least because the first creditor on line for future earnings would be IMG.

In court records, IMG places the blame for Lucic's deteriorating finances squarely with Lucic, asserting that its agents were "unable to successfully negotiate endorsement contracts for Mirjana because of her poor performance, continued allegations of injuries and inability to win a tournament after her Wimbledon performance in 1999." Harold Solomon, a respected coach who had just finished working with Jennifer Capriati, was brought in by IMG to work briefly with Lucic in 2000. Lucic did not have the money to pay Solomon to travel with her.

"She always had a big game, but consistency was something she always struggled with," Solomon says. "Getting her to continuously do the work to play at a high level was difficult. I was never able to get her to be as fit as she needed to be. She needed to make that happen. It was one of the things that got in the way."

From her high ranking of No. 32 in 1999, Lucic's year-end rankings between 2000-2003 sunk to 202, 191, 292 and 335. She missed time with injuries late in 1999, and says that immigration problems and worries that she'd run into her father forced her to miss a number of European tournaments in 2000. It didn't help that she put on some 50 pounds in 2001, a byproduct of the stress she was under, she says. The weight is almost all gone (Lucic declines to discuss her weight, then or now). Her last victory was a straight-set win over Olga Blahotova of Czech Republic. It came in the second round of Wimbledon, nearly three years ago.

About the only thing Mirjana Lucic and IMG agree on is that the halcyon days of her career went south in a hurry.

It has been, in many ways, a grim and narrow existence for Lucic these last three years. She is persona non grata in her IMG-owned community, and doesn't even have a car. Without the estimated $100,000 it would cost to travel even part-time with a coach, Lucic stays close to home, trains and hopes she can find someone to sponsor her. In her spare time, she'll flop on the white leather couch in her condo and watch archaeological digs on the History Channel, though most of all she likes to watch tennis. Her mother and sisters tried to hide the remote in the beginning, but it didn't work. Big tournament or small, if tennis is on the screen, Lucic watches it, as often as not through a veil of tears. When she sees Maria Sharapova or Svetlana Kuznetsova or one of the other new girls winning tournaments, walking away with huge checks, the pangs of what she had cut through her like daggers.

Ambler, Lucic's attorney, says there is a potential sponsor - he declined to name the company - that is interested in signing Lucic. If a deal is struck, Lucic says she would hire a coach immediately and get back on the road, starting with a dozen or so smaller events before graduating to the WTA tour.

It's a long road back, but Mirjana Lucic is convinced that her tennis pinnacle need not remain inside that metal picture frame, a seven-year-old memory from Wimbledon. Her family knows her by the nickname "Miki" and she loves to paint, oil on canvas her preferred medium. The medium she wants to save her greatest work for is the tennis court.

"My time on the court will come again," Lucic says. "I promise you that. Everybody on the outside may think, `Oh, she'll never do it, she's been away too long,' but nobody can put limitations on you but yourself."

"If somebody finds it in their heart to help her, she's going to do great things, believe me," Ana Lucic says.

Strolling down the beach here late on a recent afternoon, the sun warm on her face, Lucic looks out over the Gulf of Mexico, and seems hopeful. She and her two sisters decide to frolic in the water, but Mirjana doesn't go in much beyond her ankles. She loves to swim, but has only gone in once in eight years. "I'm afraid of sharks," she says with a faint smile.

Can she make it back to the tour, and rebuild her game and her life?

"The talent's there," Harold Solomon says. "To me it's all about whether she's willing to make the commitment over an extended period of time. She's a sweet girl. I always liked her. It would be a great story if she could come back and do it."

Goran Ivanisevic would love to see it happen, too. He's not going to handicap her chances, but deciding which way to root is far less complicated. "You need luck and you need help from upstairs for something like to happen," Ivanisevic says, "but if anyone deserves that luck and help, she does."


Makes for a very sad read that a player as promising as Lucic is now struggling to come back on the tour.

Another one of those sad tales from women's tennis.

Budhia: Child prodigy or Exploited Talent?

The recent controversy over making a child as young as Budhia run a marathon which incidently is against international rules has been an eye opener.

Watching young Budhia run his heart out in the hot summer weather was very distressing. Imagine how he was feeling.

Till he collapsed from exhaustion not a single person around him made any effort to try to check his physical condition.

On admission to a local hospital the doctors were clear about one thing that this boy has been exerting himself too much.

A child as young as Budhia (who is only 4!) could have cardiac arrest if he keeps pushing his body. Plus the levels of urea in his body are high.

His coach Mr Das should realise Budhia may be a child prodigy but he is first of all a child. Just for the sake of running into the Limca record books, the physical condition of the boy was ignored and abused.

While many will be proud of Budhia's achievments, will they similarly allow their own kids to be pushed. Perhaps not.

IBN Live has posted the following report:

One can read more about Budhia Singh on Wikipedia's site. Here is the link.

ATP & WTA Player Blogs

lol so after visting Tursunov's blog, i found him linking the readers to WTA player Bryanne Stewart's blog.

here is a link to both the blogs.

ATP blogs: Currently features 7 ATP players.

WTA blog:

ATP player Dmitry Tursunov's blog

As Ivan Bradly reported in ATP Talk, i visited Tursunov's blog on the ATP site.

This guy is really hilarious.

here is the link:

lol it will sure crack you up. ;)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Navratilova to play at ECM Open, Czech Republic

Prague post reports on Martina Navratilova's return to her native country to play in the ECM Open in Prague.

read the report here:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cats Facts

Man has always felt the need to domesticate animals. One of our most cherished animal friends (apart from the dog that is depending on what side of the fence you stand on) is the "domestic cat".

Scientific name: Felis silvestris catus

Cat calls: A cat has various cat calls the most common and well known among these is the typical "meow". Apart from its favourate call a cat purrs, hisses and growls.

Facts about our feline friends:

  • Adult cats have 32 teeth.
  • Cats are most active during evening hours.
  • Cats love to sleep and can spend astonishingly upto 12 hours sleeping on any given day.
  • Cats perform a kneading motion sort of like a dance when they are happy.
  • Cats can see in colour unlike dogs who see only in black & white.
  • Even a well fed cat will kill insects, birds and small mammals like rabbits or mice.
  • Cats hate the smell of acidic fruits like oranges, lime etc.
  • Like all pets cats love to be spoken too, but may not always repond.
  • Cats have superior vision at night.
  • Cats have dreams.
  • Cats can hear 2 octaves higher than humans and even better than dogs.
  • Your cat loves to be groomed especially on its throat. Take care though to watch for the cat's mood.
  • Contrary to popular belief cats purr in pleasure as well as in pain or distress.
  • Cats are cleanliness freaks and will groom themselves a lot.
  • Felines love to mark their territory and will scratch any visible object with their claws. Scent glands in the paws mark the object with the cat's particular scent.
  • Some cats can be infected with toxoplasmosis and it can infect people through cat litter boxes. It causes serious problems in unborn babies.
  • Cat grooming helps them to cloak their body odour due to their saliva which acts as a natural deodorant. This aids in hunting prey.
  • Cats present their owners with killed prey like mice or birds in a bid to gain affection/reward. It may also be a way to "share" their spoils with their fellow "human cats".

Martina Hingis at J&S Warsaw Cup round-1 pictures

Martina Hingis Vs Maria Kirilenko at round one of the J&S Cup at Warsaw, Poland.

Martina Hingis won 7:5 7:6.

Here are the pictures: